Understanding wine aromas - part 2

Understanding wine aromas - part 2


Have you ever wondered how the aromas of wine are analyzed?

In the previous post (read the article HERE), we discovered the primary aromas of wine, the varietal ones, which belong to the specific grape variety from which the wine originates. In this new article we deepen the secondary and tertiary aromas, that is the aromas that arise from the fermentation and aging process.

Discover with Duchessa Lia how to classify the aromas of a wine!

The colors, aromas and flavors of Asti, Roero and Monferrato, the Langhe. This is the claim of the Adv campaign that Duchessa Lia has launched in the main media: print media, TV and radio. Wine - in fact - is a door to the wonder of its territory of origin and it is precisely through colors, aromas and flavors that it leads to discover the land where it is born. We have therefore decided to dedicate the articles that will be published on our Blog to the colors, aromas and flavors of wine, to tell in a simple and direct way the ability of wine to transport us on a sensory itinerary without equal. After talking about the color of red and white wine (you can find our posts here and here), let's continue with the scents, trying to suggest how to identify and classify the wine's aromatic profile.

Wine aromas 
(part 2)


Wine is a fermented drink. Fermentation is a fascinating and tumultuous process that occurs after pressing and which slowly transforms the sugars of the grapes into alcohol. During fermentation there are many physico-chemical changes that create a new range of aromatic nuances. The types of yeasts and ferments, fermentation conditions and temperatures are factors that contribute to the variety of secondary aromas.

There are the so-called fermentative aromas, which return the fragrance of freshly baked bread, the scents of yeast and biscuit. The lactate aromas, on the other hand, which make up notes of butter, yogurt, milk and caramel. The amyl ones (derived from the fermentation of amino acids), finally, develop shades of toffee, glaze or banana.

The secondary aromas are therefore influenced by the fermentation conditions and can be directed by good winemakers towards the results most suited to the wine being produced. They should never cover the "primaries", however, leaving the taster the pleasure of grasping the varietal identity of the wine and its terroir to which it belongs.


In the development of wine aromas, one of the fundamental elements of this incredible drink could not be missing: time.

Time affects all wines, whatever the material used for their refinement. "Time" means exchanges between wine and air; contact between the wine and the wood (if it is aged in cask); and also a whole series of complex chemical transformations that, over time, lead to the stabilization and evolution of wine.

It is no coincidence that tertiary aromas are called "of evolution", precisely because they develop during the time of maturation and aging. It follows that aged wines certainly have more tertiary aromas than young wines; and wines aged in wood (such as Barolo, Barbaresco or Barbera Superiore Galanera) aromas more marked than those aged in steel or cement, which are “neutral” materials, that is, designed not to directly affect the organoleptic profile of the wine.

Among the evolutionary aromas given by the permanence of the wine in cask, the woody ones (oak, cedar, vanilla) are distinguished; the spicy ones (pepper, licorice, cinnamon), the empyheumatic ones, that is derived from the toasting of the barrels (toast, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, spice bread); and balsamic ones (sandalwood, mint, rhubarb, eucalyptus). White wines can develop notes of plum or black cherry, while reds have nuances of dried fruit, apricot in alcohol, almond. In reds, in particular, evolution can bring about animal scents such as leather, game, fur; or vegetables, such as mushrooms, truffles, undergrowth. In Classic Method sparkling wines (such as the Alta Langa), the long stay on the yeasts gives the wine delicate aromas that can range from honey to brioche, from crusty bread to small pastries.

> Read the first part dedicated to primary aromas - All the scents of wine (part 1)

DUCHESSA LIA s.r.l. - Corso Piave, 140
12058 Santo Stefano Belbo (Cn) Italia
Tel. (+39) 0141843006 • Fax (+39) 0141843929